Over 50% of Filipinos now have a financial transaction account

According to the BSP 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS), more than half of Filipino adults have a bank account. The survey found that account ownership rose from 29% in 2019 to 56% in 2021. It's the biggest two-year rise since the survey began in 2015.

More than half of the adult population in the Philippines now has a financial account, according to the results of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS).

According to the survey results, account ownership increased to 56% in 2021, up from 29% in 2019. This is the highest two-year increase since the survey began in 2015. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of digital payments, which fueled the expansion.

Meanwhile, account ownership increased due to the adoption of e-money accounts, which increased from 8% in 2019 to 36% in 2021. This became the most popular type of account among adults in the middle and lower income classes and those aged 15 to 49.

The proportion of adults with a bank account also increased, nearly doubling to 23% in 2021 from 12% in 2019. Banks continue to be the preferred formal institution for saving money for one-third of those who have savings, followed by cooperatives and microfinance institutions.

Six out of ten Filipinos changed their financial behavior during the pandemic, according to the FIS. Filipinos started saving more for emergencies (37%), started or increased their use of online banking and digital payments (17%) and borrowed more (15%).

According to the FIS, in 2021, 60% of persons with mobile phones and internet access would conduct financial transactions such as fund transfers and payments online, up from 17% in 2019.

However, the agenda for financial inclusion still faces obstacles. The primary obstacles to account ownership persist, such as a lack of income and high transaction fees. In addition, a substantial portion of the population still lacks the documentation required to open an account. The survey also revealed that over half of savers still keep their funds at home.

These difficulties, which are more pronounced in groups with lower incomes, highlight the necessity of bolstering mechanisms that support the financial resilience of the most vulnerable segments of the population.
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